Caterer Elior serves up first H1 core loss since 2013

By Reuters

<p><body> <p>(Reuters) – French catering company Elior posted on Thursday a first-half core loss for the first time since at least 2013, as coronavirus restrictions continued to bite into revenues from shuttered schools and businesses.</p> <p>Europe’s third biggest contract caterer reported an adjusted loss before interest, taxes, and amortization (<span class="caps">EBITA</span>) of 25 million euros ($30 million) for the six months ended March, compared to a profit of 52 million euros a year earlier – from revenues down 22% on an underlying basis.</p> <p>However, the group boosted its available cash thanks to a state-backed loan and signed new contracts with firms such as Siemens Gamesa and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (<span class="caps">CEA</span>).</p> <p>“Given that our volume trends currently depend on the public health situation, we continue to focus our efforts on operating costs and available liquidity,” said Chief Executive Philippe Guillemot in a statement.</p> <p>Britain’s Compass Group, the world’s largest catering company, and French rival Sodexo have had to cut jobs and clamp down on costs as extended lockdowns ate into earnings.</p> <p>Elior does not not expect its business and industry operations to see material recovery before September, as vaccine rollouts dictate the easing of public health restrictions.</p> <p>In France, its home market, Elior expects its education business to suffer from stricter health rules, as entire classes are sent home after a single positive <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 test.</p> <p>Delayed surgeries, closed hospital cafeterias and low nursing home occupancy should continue to impact its health business, it said.</p> <p>($1 = 0.8208 euros)</p> <p/> <p> (Reporting by Sarah Morland in Gdansk. Editing by Mark Potter)</p> </body></p>